In yet another high-design, uninhabited space recently sold at auction in Australia, we discovered a surprising design flaw at odds its superlative description:

An inspired architect designed conversion has created a unique living space that showcases extraordinary size, light and utmost privacy.

…Lifestyle takes centre stage here with … a remarkable achievement in creativity and sophisticated styling…

The kitchen island is a stylishly moderne rectangular volume. It is indeed a beautiful piece. Yet the stools lined up along it invite sitting. Can it be that the designers were so in love with that big volume that they couldn’t see that anyone sitting at the island (on the stools provided) would have no room for their legs.

We tried sitting at our kitchen counter to simulate the effect. With knees butted up against the wall of the island, our torso is a good 13 inches away from the countertop; if we wanted to eat anything or lean (as is so pleasant on an island), we’d have a pretty big space to span, very uncomfortably. If we turn the stools 90′ and sit sideways, we can hang out…for a while, until we get a crick in our back.

If the island’s top overhung the base five inches or more, you could sit right up to it comfortably

And if you still wanted to maintain the illusion of the volume, create one with sides that would hide the leg space…


It is possible that the designers of the rectangular volume at top may NOT have intended it to be sat at, but rather to remain a distinct volume to be worked at, stood at, looked at…

…but that whoever staged the room for photography and the real estate listing added the stools, not thinking through the bad design they were creating.


first and second kitchen islands via Desire to Inspire

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

One thought on “Annals of Bad Design: The Mixed Message Kitchen Island

  1. Sally, I love how you tickle me into thinking about things,
    I never normally would see(!),..

    {Thinking about ‘the volume’,
    maybe ‘the cook’ doesn’t want ‘the victims’ to watch(!).
    Therefore, sitting at ‘the table’,
    only with turned backs!
    ,..just a smile,…thought.}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *